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    Wooden bell, bamboo tocsin
    tụng kinh chùa
    the bonzes strike the wooden bell while saying prayers in the pagoda
    Village herald (belonging to the lowest social class, in former times) %%*THE EXTRAORDINARY SOUNDS OF TOCSIN Tocsin, drum and horn are familiar musical instruments in Vietnam's countryside. However, tocsin is the most versatile with its extraordinary sounds, depending on whether it is found: in the forest, where it is used as a musical instrument, in the village, as a warning signal, or in the pagoda where it is essential for Buddhist rituals. In the village watch towerm, there used to be many wooden fish clappers. Depending on the rhythm of the beating, the villagers could be informed of different events: Festivities, thieves, fire, or strengthening dikes. In the highlands, small wooden rattles are attached to the necks of buffaloes to help their owners distinguish their cattle. These tocsins are oval-shaped ones. Their lengths and thickness also differ. Hence the peculiar sounds made by the buffaloes. In the pagoda, Mo Qua is used to accompany the prayers of Buddhist bronzes. Tocsins are made from different materials. Some are made from the roots of a bamboo tree ( widely used by the village crier), or from the trunk of an old bamboo (used in the watch tower because of the strident sound it produces). As a result of years of study, Ta Tham, an elderly musician, managed to develop a new musical instrument comprising a series of tocsins. Thus this concert is composed of four kinds of tocsin: Ong, Qua, Trac and Thanh, meaning respectively tube, fruit, teak and sound. Trac tocsins, made of hard wood (such as teak or steel wood) and placed to the left, can produce clear and light sounds. The musician can use tube tocsins and teak tocsins to reflect exclusive sounds hitherto unknown in all kinds of tocsin. They can mock the sounds made by woodpeckers, partridges, frogs, insects or horse hooves. Since the cluster of tocsins was born, it has become highly valued by many art troupes nationwide. It has been awarded a prize by the Institute of Music under the Ministry of Culture and Information. (VNS)

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